Essays, Health and Fitness, Memoir, Oddities

No matter how weird you are, you are never alone

English: JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 2, 2011) Lt....
Luckily, I didn’t need to call an entomologist to solve my problem. | English: JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 2, 2011) Lt. Tracy Mejeomov, an entomologist at the Navy Entomology Center of Excellence at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, examines a sample of bed bugs under a microscope to identify the species. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Gary Granger Jr./Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently, I started finding what appeared to be tiny apple seeds in my bed. At first, I thought someone was eating in my bed. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that I had discovered crumbs all over my sheets from what I can only assume was my teenager discovering – and helping himself to – the  tasty, dark chocolaty, sea salt and caramel pretzel treats that I had stashed away in my desk drawer so I could keep them all to myself. However, when I continued to find these seeds, I knew I couldn’t continue to assume that my teenager was coming home from school every day and eating an afternoon snack in my bed.

Because that would just be too weird.

With no obvious explanation to be found, my fertile imagination immediately set to work trying to figure it out. As I worked myself up, imagining everything from mice eating in my bed (I did recently kill a mouse in my living room with a broom after watching my cats chase it for several minutes and then not know what to do with it once they’d caught it) to some disgusting disease or parasite that causes cats and/or people to excrete something that looks like tiny seeds from their bodily openings, I finally turned to the all-knowing oracle, Google.

At first, Google scared the crap out of me, as it is wont to do. The first link I opened landed me on this conversation led by someone who was having the exact same problem that I was having. After reading her discussion post, which begins with the words, “I think we have bed bugs,” my stomach clenched, and my whole body went clammy.

“Oh, my Google gods, I didn’t even think of bed bugs!”

My heart raced. I thought I might puke. I just moved in August. What if my new home – which I so far love (aside from the mice) – is infested with bed bugs? Will my landlord pay to have the place fumigated and/or heated to five billion degrees, which I have heard is the only way to rid yourself of the blasted bugs? Will I have to pay for it myself? Will I have to pay for us to live in a hotel while all of this is going on? I can’t afford this—

I think we have bed bugs discussion board
This is the post that instilled terror in my heart.

I took a deep breath and read on, taking heart when another poster basically said, “Meh—doesn’t sound like bed bugs to me.” Yet another commenter suggested termites, and I immediately imagined termites eating their way through the expensive Amish oak bedstead that is one of my few prized possessions.

The conversation went on for weeks, as these types of discussion board conversations often do, with the original poster checking in occasionally to update everyone on how many of these “seeds” she had found this time. One commenter suggested she consult with an entomologist (sounds expensive to me!) and another poster actually asked her to send him a sample so he could analyze it for her.

Finally, the poor desperate lady popped in with a comment that started like this: “There is a happy ending to my story. Even though it makes me look like a total idiot, I am going to post it here in the hopes that it gives somebody a good laugh.”

She goes on to explain how she had hopped out of bed that morning in a panic when she woke up and realized she was covered in these disgusting little seeds of questionable origin, only to have her sleep mask (which she refers to as her “magic bag”) follow her out of the bed and onto the floor…

…Where several more seeds poured out of a hole in the bag! The mystery was solved! It wasn’t an infestation, but a hole in her magic sleep bag!

As I read these last few words, I glanced over at my bedside table at my own little magic bag (I call mine a “dream pillow.”) I picked it up, and the herbs and little seeds inside clattered together. I unzipped the end of the tiny pillow. Lo and behold, it was full of these little “apple seeds” that have been turning up between my sheets the past few weeks. According to the poster who had requested that she send him a sample, they turned out to be flax seeds.

magic dream pillow full of flax seeds
I don’t know what else is in my magic dream pillow in addition to the flax seeds, but I can usually count on it to put me right to sleep.

What are the chances that one person would have such an odd problem, let alone two of us? How many other magic sleep pillow users are currently being terrorized by their own imaginations while they try to figure out why they are finding these tiny little seeds in their beds? How many, I ask you?

Oh, the horror!

I am so thankful that this anonymous poster was able to laugh at herself and share her story. If I hadn’t stumbled onto her post, I would have probably tortured myself for weeks in an attempt to determine where these seeds were coming from. I too may have eventually made an appointment with a university entomologist. And how embarrassed I would have been when he finally told me that my bed was infested with flax seeds!

As it turns out, no matter how weird your problem may be, it is virtually impossible that you are the only person in this world of eight billion people (and counting) who is experiencing that same crisis. Let my story be proof of this.

We have to tell our stories so others may know that they are not alone. Whether your story is about domestic violence, sexual abuse, poverty, racism, or flax seed infestations, you never know who you might help by talking about it. So, go forth and let your voice be heard.

Even when it makes you feel like an idiot. No, especially when it makes you feel like an idiot.

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